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2017: we must face the nursing challenges together

Despite many uncertainties in nursing, Kirsty Armstrong issues a rallying cry for nurses to stand together and face the challenges of 2017 together

The continuous patching up of the NHS goes on – nurse apprenticeships, nurse associates, upskilling. There seems to be a throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the problem. We need the NHS to be a good place to work with fair pay, pensions (not negotiable please) holiday and sick pay, free or cheap parking and support from management.

I consider one of the many problems has always been too many chiefs (generally without health experience) and not enough Indians. The NHS should be staffed from top to bottom by people who have healthcare experience (not the bed manager whose last job was managing a branch of a well known iced doughnut).

It should not be used as a political football to use and abuse, to fulfill or more often than not allow your election promises to be wafted away on the wind. We need to ensure that funding and training for all nurses is not eroded any further or go the way of nurse bursaries. Countless studies have shown the inequity of funding1 and that other healthcare professionals receive training funds way above that of nurses.

On a more cheery note some notice has been taken of the dearth of practice nurses with an excellent training scheme in London run by HEE which is funding practice nurse training and awarding a bursary to the GP practice.2 There is also the London workforce programme and objectives, the Capital nurse project3 and some excellent work with Community Education Provider Networks (CEPNs)4 who are our advocates and seek fundingfor training for all healthcare professionals. A good project has also begun looking at making the most of your time in general practice aimed at all of those who work within it.5

It seems as if there may be some dark days ahead with Brexit looming, shifty election results across the pond and inflation on the increase. However I am hoping that despite this you still feel you have chosen the right career and are enthusiastic for the most part about nursing – we need to promote the importance of this vital job, stick to our guns to secure training and shout our own praises. Have a happy and restful Christmas if you can and let’s meet 2017 head on, ready to embrace the challenges ahead.

1. N Merrifield, 2016. Nurse training at risk from CPD budget cuts. Nursing Times.

2. For more information contact




Kirsty Armstrong, senior lecturer in primary care at Kingston and St George's and advanced nurse practitioner in urgent and OOH care